From the BlogWriting

Semantics, Schmantics

One headline said the Raleigh city manager was “fired,” while another said he was “out.”

Photo by Sean MacEntee.

While that doesn’t sound like a great difference, consider this: If someone is fired, what do you picture? I imagine someone is called into an office, fired, and told to gather his or her things immediately.

In this case, the city manager will continue working until July 1. City Councilors decided not to renew his contract. So he was “let go,” not fired.

The point: words matter, whether it’s your blog, e-newsletter, press release or other business marketing copy. What if you write one thing, intending it to mean X, but your customer interprets it as Y? That might mean losing his/her business — before you even get it.

One could argue that it’s all semantics. But in the case of the city manager, the two words paint different pictures about how he is leaving.

If it were you, which would you choose?